The chief nursing officer (CNO) for England has paid tribute to nurses and colleagues across the health service who will be “going the extra mile” this bank holiday to help ensure patients can pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.
Hundreds of thousands of staff working for the NHS in England on the day of the Queen’s funeral on Monday 19 September will be supporting patients to mark the event.
“NHS staff will do everything they can to ensure every patient has the chance to pay their respects”
Extra TV screens will be put in wards, atriums and other public spaces in hospitals across the country to show the funeral, while hospital radio stations will also broadcast the service, said NHS England.
Some trusts have also set up books of condolences for Her Majesty, while staff at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be going “ward to ward” with iPads so patients can sign them if they wish.
Others are holding remembrance services, including at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and at St George’s Hospital chapel.
Where possible, NHS staff in hospitals across England will also observe a national moment of reflection on Sunday for a one-minute silence to reflect on the Queen’s life and legacy, according to NHS England.
Since news of the Queen’s death on 8 September, tributes have poured in from across the nursing profession.
Her Majesty has been remembered for the way she “tirelessly championed nurses and nursing issues”, having been a patron for several nursing and health organisations.
CNO Dame Ruth May has thanked NHS staff across the country for working this bank holiday to care for patients, while ensuring wherever possible patients and staff can pay tribute to the Queen.
“As the country rightly pauses to mark Queen Elizabeth II passing, hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers including nurses, clinicians, porters and other staff working in hospitals and our communities in England will ensure patients can also pay their respects, many of whom were deeply honoured when Her Majesty awarded the health service the George Cross earlier this year,” she said.
“From staff going the extra mile to help patients sign the online book of condolence, through to hospital chaplains conducting remembrance services, NHS staff will do everything they can to ensure every patient has the chance to pay their respects.”
Earlier this week, ministers in England were urged to clarify pay arrangements for nurses working on the day of the funeral following confusion over whether the bank holiday counts as a public holiday that would entitle NHS workers to overtime pay.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that Monday 19 September will be considered an official public holiday and that NHS staff required to work that day will be “eligible for the rates of pay and all other terms and conditions applicable on a designated public holiday”.
A spokesperson from the Welsh Government confirmed that the same will be true in Wales.
A Department of Health spokesperson for Northern Ireland clarified that staff required to work or to be on-call on Monday 19 September will be entitled to equivalent time to be taken off in lieu at plain time rates, in addition to the appropriate payment for the duties undertaken. For staff within AfC Bands 4 to 9 this will be normal time, plus 60%.
Also this week, trusts in England were told to be aware that there may be an increase in patients self-presenting across the health and social care sector following the death of Her Majesty.
While individual organisations in England would “amend services as they deem necessary” on the day of the funeral, NHS England assured urgent and emergency services, including urgent GP appointments, would continue to be available.
In Wales, the government has said NHS organisations are expected to “run in line with normal bank holiday arrangements”.
This included “ensuring urgent and emergency services are maintained and where workforce allows, continue with planned care services with a particular focus on cancer and clinically urgent procedures”.
In Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has said trusts “will be operating enhanced bank holiday services” to “reduce the impact on patients”.